• A large number of human activities, including farming and manufacturing, contribute to climate change.
• At eight billion, it is expected that more human activities will take place to sustain the population.
In 2011, when the world was hitting the seven billion population mark, many started to worry whether that was too many people.
Already, climate change was beginning to show its adverse effects across the world.
Eleven years later, the world is reaching eight billion people as of Tuesday, November 15, 2022.
Eight billion still sounds like a daunting number.
According to the United Nations, there are approximately 385,000 babies born each day around the world, which is 140 million people every year.
The World Counts says that the number will remain relatively stable in the next 50 years, from 2020 t0 2070.
“From 2070 to 2100, the number will decline to around 356,000 babies every day, about 130 million a year,” they said.
A large number of human activities on the planet contribute to climate change.
CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACT
The United Nations says generating power for work and home use, manufacturing and food production all require the use of fossil fuels like coal, gas and oil.
“Fossil fuels are by far the largest contributor to global climate change, accounting for more than 75 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 90 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions,” the UN said.
As greenhouse gas emissions blanket the Earth, they trap the sun’s heat, leading to global warming and climate change.
“The world is now warming faster than at any point in recorded history. Warmer temperatures over time are changing weather patterns and disrupting the usual balance of nature. This poses many risks to human beings and all other forms of life on Earth,” they said.
Can the planet really handle eight billion people?
The United Nations Population Fund says the same question has been asked every time the world crossed another one billion mark.
“Every time the world notches one billion more people, the same question is asked,” they said.
In the sixties, they said, there was much concern over overpopulation in the world as the four billion mark was approaching.
They said the world population is expected to reach nine billion in 2037 and 10 billion in 2058.
It is expected to peak at 10.4 billion in 2080 and stagnate until 2100.
“Even amid such feverish hand-wringing in the 1960s, history has shown that the answer is yes, the planet can handle one billion more people,” they said.
The UN body however said the rate of population growth has been declining since the 1970s, dropping to below one per cent for the first time in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The UN’s World Population Prospects 2022 report estimates that to have zero growth in the long run, fertility rate will have to drop to 2.1 births per woman in their lifetime.
“Already, two-thirds of people in the world live in populations with this birth rate,” the report said.
It says some 61 countries will decrease their population by one per cent or more between 2020 and 2050.
However, only eight countries in Asia and Africa are expected to increase their populations by half in the same period.
“Nigeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, the DRC, Tanzania, India, Pakistan and the Philippines,” the report added.